Only three days left until the fifth of November, also known as Guy Fawkes Day in Britain. On this particular date hacktivist group Anonymous has planned several Ops: Operation Cashback, Operation Fox Hunt and Operation Facebook. The first two have been recently announced in relation to the Occupy movement, whereas the announcement of Operation Facebook was made nearly five months ago:
“Your medium of communication you all so dearly adore will be destroyed. If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill facebook for the sake of your own privacy”
“Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world.”
“Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your “privacy” settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you “delete” your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time”
“The riots are underway. It is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It is a battle for choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being raped, tickled, molested, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely false. It gives users the illusion of and hides the details away from them “for their own good” while they then make millions off of you. When a service is “free,” it really means they’re making money off of you and your information.”
Read the full anon-cement here.
Whoever wrote this conceives privacy on Facebook as illusive and problematizes exploitation from the perspective of users who lack the ability to properly control their data. Moreover, it’s claimed that Facebook sells personal information to government agencies and gives access to information security firms. Even though such a big claim is useless without providing evidence, it ties into the importance of ascertaining how Facebook treats and should (not) treat user data.
The threat to ‘kill’ and ‘destroy’ Facebook is likely to be a hoax. According to some the video would not meet the quality standards of other Anonymous press videos and is not credible at all. Note that it isn’t just one video, but many translations and different versions circulating as well. Luckily, another (more recent) video by Anonymous clears up a few things:
Anonymous replies to Operation Facebook
“There have been rumors of an impending attack on Facebook by Anonymous. This, however, is not true.
Though we do not agree with Facebook’s privacy procedures, we understand that such an attack would not only hurt the people, but also weaken our cause.
By the same token, though, there may very well be an attack on Facebook. Anyone can call themselves Anonymous, and do what they will, but the collective will of Anonymous is that Facebook should be left alone.
We would ask any such hactivists to not do this attack in the name of Anonymous. Facebook allows friends and families to connect with one another. Anonymous understand the importance of this.
On November 5th, let us celebrate everything Anonymous and freedom fighters around the world have accomplished, and renew our zeal for freedom. Let us not tarnish our reputation by participating in this meaningless attack.”
Additionally, there are two tweets from the ‘official’ @AnonOps Twitter account which proclaim that (1) it’s a FAKE Op, and (2) only ‘some’ Anonymous members have organised Operation Facebook; the attack is not condoned by ‘all of Anonymous’.
Approaching Saturday, the tweets containing #Opfacebook are increasingly generated. The @Op_facebook Twitter account has a link to a PiratePad: an Op-document that can be edited by anyone: http://piratepad.net/YCPcpwrl09. It could be interesting to see what happens over there. ( This link has been sent around with the OpFacebook videos and related articles). Judging from the piratepad, the main goal of Operation Facebook actually is to get as many users as possible to delete their profile, leave Facebook and join decentralized federated alternatives.
With ‘some’ ‘Anons’ involved in this operation it is not exactly clear what to expect on the fifth of November. If it (the so-called ‘destruction’) turns out to be a hoax, at least some of Facebook’s issues were brought to people’s attention. When it doesn’t turn out to be a hoax (….) the privacy and data control issues of Facebook could be placed on the public agenda more prominently, as well as (more) law enforcement to thwart such ‘operations’ (depending on the way(s) the attack is carried out). Leaving Facebook obviously isn’t the same as ‘killing’ Facebook. Is Operation Facebook actually a new ‘Quit Facebook Day‘?! We’ll find out soon enough.
On July 15th Google banned the “Your Anon News” page from Google Plus, because some of the posted content violated the company’s ‘Community Standards’. As a consequence to the ban, Anonymous appears to be working on AnonPlus: “a new social network where there is no fear…of censorship…of blackout…nor of holding back”. Have a look on the official AnonPlus development website.
At first sight the creation of an Anonymous social networking site seems unreal but this interview with Jamie Jo Corne, head of Presstorm actually proves otherwise. Then again, Presstorm is no longer involved in the development of AnonPlus. The last word hasn’t been said about this new social networking site on the rise.
Will we remember, remember the fifth of November?
Only time will tell..(in about three days).